In the world of marketing, sales, and customer service, “moment of truth” is one of those foundational concepts that will determine how you design the various aspects of the customer experience. Website design, choice of outreach channels, product UX, and customer service agent training – all of these decisions will be shaped by your understanding of the moments of truth on the customer journey and how they lead up to conversion.
What is a Moment of Truth? Definition
You can define a moment of truth as a specific point on the customer journey, where the customer forms an indelible impression of the product, brand, or service, which influences the customer’s decision later down the line.
In marketing and brand building, the concept is helpful for understanding the overall customer experience, even before a person comes into contact with your representative or purchase’s a product. To take a simple example, a viral ad campaign can form an extremely effective moment of truth for a large audience, laying the foundations for conversion when an actual customer need arises.
Moment of Truth Origin and Evolution
While the exact origins of the concept are unclear, we can trace back our understanding of customer moments of truth as we know them to the explanation of the same by Proctor & Gamble. According to the company’s chairman who laid down the first and second moments of truth in 2005, the customer’s very first encounter with the product (online or offline), and the customer’s experience after purchasing the product are the two moments to watch for. Proctor & Gamble went on to add a third moment of truth, indicating the time when a customer shares feedback either online or through word of mouth.
Importantly, our current definition of moment of truth is heavily influenced by Google’s new term “zero moment of truth”, introduced in 2011.
According to Google, moments of truth begin a long time before the customer has a chance to encounter or purchase the product. Brand perception, advertising content, social media chatter, etc., all form vital parts of the customer experience and can be considered as zero (or before the first) moment of truth.
For example, Google found that 78% of women in Asia use search engines to drive their purchase decisions, which means that the customer journey starts a long time before they have even selected the product.
McKinsey further added to this definition by suggesting that moments of truth form a cyclical process.
McKinsey’s Moment of Truth and Loyalty Loop
McKinsey places four distinct moments of truth – initial consideration, active evaluation, moment of purchase, and post-purchase experience into a sort of customer journey lifecycle, called the Loyalty Loop. this is an accurate representation of CX, as it espouses that there is a past purchase history and context driving every new phase of intent, desire, and conversion. Companies can combine the two concepts – moments of truth and McKinsey’s Loyalty Loop – to design a CX that’s aligned to customer psychological drivers and built for continued value generation.